Friday, October 9, 2009



Guinea's army has long played a political role

The sale of arms to Guinea's military government should stop after the shooting of opposition supporters last week, says Amnesty International.Human rights groups say 157 people were killed in the incident, while the government puts the figure at only 57.

Amnesty says France and South Africa have recently supplied military equipment to Guinea. France has already suspended military ties. The opposition has rejected a proposed enquiry into the deaths. Opposition leader Mamadou Bailo Diallo told the BBC he wanted an international investigation to ensure it was neutral.

The soldiers opened fire on a crowd of some 50,000 people who were protesting at reports that military leader Moussa Dadis Camara ws planning to stand in elections due next year. Some witnesses report that the women were also raped by the soldiers during the crackdown.


Seized power in December 2008 as a little known army captain
Promised democracy, but now shows signs of holding on to power
Increasingly erratic behaviour and public humiliation of officials

"The transfer of such [military] supplies should stop until the Guinean government has taken steps to prevent these violations from recurring, and has brought to justice those responsible for the brutal attacks last week," Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme, said.

The opposition has also rejected an offer to take part in a government of national unity until those behind the stadium killings face justice.

On Wednesday French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he suspected Capt Camara had participated in the decision to launch the bloody crackdown. Guinea's strongman has blamed "uncontrollable soldiers" for the violence, as well as the opposition for calling the rally in the first place.

Earlier US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was appalled and outraged by the "vile violation" of people's rights and intended "to pursue appropriate actions" against Guinea's military rulers.

Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore is mediating in the dispute on behalf of the regional body Ecowas and has proposed that the military leadership and opposition meet in Ouagadougou for talks.